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#20141 - 12/07/11 10:32 AM Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves
hikin_jim Offline


Registered: 11/07/10
Posts: 148
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Some of my recent posts have been a little heavy on the theory end of things. This post is nearly purely practical. Have a look at: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves

HJ
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#20409 - 12/27/11 05:34 AM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: hikin_jim]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
does anyone know of an actual test comparing low temp performance of currently available isobutane/propane blends such as MSR, Jetboil, GigaPower, Primus and other fuels?

At leat on the canisters, I can't find any detail info on mix ratios.

Just curious, since so far I have been buying these things based on price alone. Have had good luck with GigaPower but then so far I used an upside down canister stove for trips when freezing temps are likely. Now I have one of those Jetboil Sol units for solo trips and could shave a lot of weight on the stove if I dare to take it into snow country. Obvisously, I want to maximize my fuel use with this upright setup.
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#20412 - 12/27/11 01:10 PM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: Fishmonger]
hikin_jim Offline


Registered: 11/07/10
Posts: 148
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Fishmonger,

With almost any brand of canister gas, you're going to get significantly better cold weather performance if you use the canister upside down. However, some brands of gas are better than others.

If you're interested, I've got a blog post up that discusses which brands (by name) are best for winter use: What's the Best Brand of Gas for Cold Weather?

I've also got a list of a lot of the brands of canister gas and their prices: Fuel Price Guide (Dec. 2011) . Those prices are all from the Los Angeles area, but they ought to be fairly representative of what's out there.

HJ
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#20419 - 12/28/11 08:54 AM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: hikin_jim]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: hikin_jim
Fishmonger,

With almost any brand of canister gas, you're going to get significantly better cold weather performance if you use the canister upside down. However, some brands of gas are better than others.


thanks for posting the mixtures - looks like I should stick with MSR and Jetboil for the higher propane content if I leave the Helios at home. The Jetboil Sol is so much lighter for solo trips, that unless I am about to melt snow for a week, I will come out ahead in terms of weight, even if some fuel stays in the canisters. there's always the hand warmer plus sock trick or just to put the canister in your sleeping bag or inside coat pocket for a few hours.

Primus clearly is not what I'd want to bring in winter, and even in summer in the Sierra, they may not work that well.

We have an REI in town and their prices match what you found.
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#20422 - 12/28/11 12:59 PM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: Fishmonger]
hikin_jim Offline


Registered: 11/07/10
Posts: 148
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
You're welcome.

A Helios will work in colder temperatures than a Jetboil almost irrespective of the brand of gas, but if you're staying above maybe 20F, then a JB with good fuel should be fine. There won't be that much practical difference between 85/15 Snow Peak and 80/20 MSR. BUT do avoid Primus, Coleman, etc. that have "plain" butane in them.

HJ
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#20429 - 12/29/11 03:03 AM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: hikin_jim]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
The Helios is probably my favorite stove, but it's really large for a solo trip. Melts snow like a champ in the large pot, though:



The thing about upside down operation - "throttle response" is very slow, and you do NOT want to start the thing with the canister already upside down. You make that mistake only once, learning it the hot way while you wonder how there can be a burning lake of isobutane/propane on the snow - isn't that stuff supposed to evaporate immediately? grin)

Any idea what kind of fuel is in these classic canisters?



because I have this crazy idea of doing a "retro hike" down the JMT one day sporting cotton clothing, film camera and all the old gear I can come up with, and it probably won't be in summer.
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#20431 - 12/29/11 06:01 AM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: Fishmonger]
CMC2 Offline


Registered: 11/04/09
Posts: 160
Loc: CO
I have a small C206 Cartridge that is Butane

I have a couple of the large CV470 Cartridges that are Propane/Butane Formula but since I don't read French I do not know the percentages of either gas.

I have a couple of the large CV470 Cartridges that are NEW Propane/Butane Formula but as above I do not know the percentages of the NEW mix.

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#20433 - 12/29/11 07:52 AM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: CMC2]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
needs to be a C206 because the old stove is that "poke hole and stay connected" type

found a US supplier (most google hits are in the UK and for science supply companies), and she sure looks like 100% butane...

http://stores.goextremeoutdoors.com/-strse-2279/C206-Camping-Gaz-Fuel/Detail.bok

gonna have to do that hike in summer, I suppose grin

I recently did a comparison in how efficient, or better how inefficient this old setup of GAZ stove with 1980s Belgian military rectangular pot is, and if I remember correctly, the Jetboil Sol was about 30-40% more fuel efficent at room temperature.
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#20450 - 12/30/11 11:36 AM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: Fishmonger]
dbd Offline


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 216
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: Fishmonger

...
because I have this crazy idea of doing a "retro hike" down the JMT one day sporting cotton clothing, film camera and all the old gear I can come up with, and it probably won't be in summer.


"Retro" is wool not cotton. For the "ultimate retro" version, leave the wool unwoven on the original hide. Unfortunately, modern hunting laws may be at odds with the acquisition of "ultimate retro" versions of backpacking foods.

Dale B. Dalrymple

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#20453 - 12/30/11 03:54 PM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: dbd]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: dbd
Originally Posted By: Fishmonger

...
because I have this crazy idea of doing a "retro hike" down the JMT one day sporting cotton clothing, film camera and all the old gear I can come up with, and it probably won't be in summer.


"Retro" is wool not cotton. For the "ultimate retro" version, leave the wool unwoven on the original hide. Unfortunately, modern hunting laws may be at odds with the acquisition of "ultimate retro" versions of backpacking foods.

Dale B. Dalrymple


I define my "retro" as what I used to do when I first went out into the mountains, and in my case, wool actually happens to be in my modern gear closet (merino, that is), while back in the 80s I wore cotton T-shirts, jeans, running shorts, and cotton socks as liners inside of wool socks. Why? guess that's what I had and the budget allowed no fancy clothing, but it worked. Perhaps not as good as the gear I have today, but that's the point - it doesn't really matter as the endless online gear discussions tend to make it appear. Yes, cotton doesn't dry fast, is heavy, but that's what we had.
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#20456 - 12/30/11 06:52 PM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: Fishmonger]
dbd Offline


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 216
Loc: San Diego
Originally Posted By: Fishmonger

I define my "retro" as what I used to do when I first went out into the mountains, and in my case, wool actually happens to be in my modern gear closet (merino, that is), while back in the 80s I wore cotton T-shirts, jeans, running shorts, and cotton socks as liners inside of wool socks.
...


Retro means "of or designating the style of an earlier time", not what we did before we knew or could afford style.

Dale B. Dalrymple

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#20460 - 12/31/11 06:31 AM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: dbd]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
what can I say, I guess I can't go hiking now. Messes up all my plans. Bummer. Back to the drawing board.
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#20463 - 12/31/11 07:15 AM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: Fishmonger]
catpappy Offline


Registered: 03/06/10
Posts: 120
Loc: acworth, ga
For a little more bang for your efficiency buck, don't forget your cooking pot. Black is better.

See the section under properties at this link.

http://cascadedesigns.com/MSR/FAQ/Cookware

John

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#20479 - 01/01/12 07:41 PM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: Fishmonger]
hikin_jim Offline


Registered: 11/07/10
Posts: 148
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Originally Posted By: Fishmonger
The Helios is probably my favorite stove, but it's really large for a solo trip. Melts snow like a champ in the large pot, though:



The thing about upside down operation - "throttle response" is very slow, and you do NOT want to start the thing with the canister already upside down. You make that mistake only once, learning it the hot way while you wonder how there can be a burning lake of isobutane/propane on the snow - isn't that stuff supposed to evaporate immediately? grin)

Any idea what kind of fuel is in these classic canisters?



because I have this crazy idea of doing a "retro hike" down the JMT one day sporting cotton clothing, film camera and all the old gear I can come up with, and it probably won't be in summer.
The really old puncture type canisters were 100% butane. They still sell the same canisters, but now they're a butane-propane blend. I don't know the percentages though.

Big Five sells the puncture type canisters. They're not that hard to find.

HJ
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#20480 - 01/01/12 07:45 PM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: Fishmonger]
hikin_jim Offline


Registered: 11/07/10
Posts: 148
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Originally Posted By: Fishmonger
I define my "retro" as what I used to do when I first went out into the mountains, and in my case, wool actually happens to be in my modern gear closet (merino, that is), while back in the 80s I wore cotton T-shirts, jeans, running shorts, and cotton socks as liners inside of wool socks. Why? guess that's what I had and the budget allowed no fancy clothing, but it worked. Perhaps not as good as the gear I have today, but that's the point - it doesn't really matter as the endless online gear discussions tend to make it appear. Yes, cotton doesn't dry fast, is heavy, but that's what we had.
Same here. I started hiking in the 60's and BP'ing in the 70's. Blue jeans. Cotton "T" shirts. Cotton Flannel shirts. I did have a nice down bag and a nylon down jacket. We used flannel pajamas as long johns. When we first started, we used a coffee can on a long wire fashioned into a bail. Later we "upgraded" to a little butane stove, and then when they stopped making canisters for that stove, we got a little Optimus 8R. Wish I knew what happened to that little 8R.

HJ
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#20552 - 01/05/12 08:14 AM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: hikin_jim]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: hikin_jim
I started hiking in the 60's and BP'ing in the 70's. Blue jeans. Cotton "T" shirts. Cotton Flannel shirts. I did have a nice down bag and a nylon down jacket. We used flannel pajamas as long johns. When we first started, we used a coffee can on a long wire fashioned into a bail. Later we "upgraded" to a little butane stove, and then when they stopped making canisters for that stove, we got a little Optimus 8R. Wish I knew what happened to that little 8R.

HJ


I started in the late 70s. In 1980 I still was into long distance bike touring, but by '81 the mountains were calling. Gear - well - look at this:



The blue bag is a down sleeping bag, but it was a horrible design with zipper all around the bottom and no real foot box. Cold feet every night. Ground pad was open cell foam with a little reflective material on the outside. Completely no R-value or padding. Pack was the base model from the German Sears-equivalent, clothes were all cotton except for a nylon windbreaker that didn't keep me dry. I invested in a poncho a few years later (which I still used as a tent footprint in 2008). At least the ass-kicker boots were ready for anything. I didn't cook in the mountains until about 1984, and only because I met my long term hiking partner at that time, and he had a GAZ. What a difference that made in terms of comfort.
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#20553 - 01/05/12 08:59 AM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: Fishmonger]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7874
Loc: Fresno, CA
Fish man, just curious -- where was that picture taken?

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#20557 - 01/05/12 11:48 AM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: Steve C]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
breaking out the old Gmap4:

South of St. Dalmas on the GR 5

I went alone from Grenoble to Nice on and off the GR5 trail prior to heading to Corsica that summer.

using the French IGN maps (that show the trail), I was about here when the camera self timer took that shot - map center below the peak called La Caire Gros.
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#20579 - 01/06/12 09:42 AM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: hikin_jim]
dbd Offline


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 216
Loc: San Diego
Quote:
I started hiking in the 60's and BP'ing in the 70's. ... Wish I knew what happened to that little 8R.

HJ


I started hiking in the mountains in the 50's in the usual kids t-shirt and jeans. I didn't BP until I was out of the house. My father had camped out year-round in Europe for a couple years in the early 40's and wasn't interested in introducing camping to his family as a sport.

I first went up Whitney in '71 on the 42nd and final day of my second BP, a hike down from Tahoe. I had a down bag, which I still use, and carried a space blanket, poncho, denim jacket and wool sweater. I carried a Svea 123 for comfort instead of a foam pad. It's amazing how good you can get at excavating shoulder and hip depressions in the ground before you spread the space blanket when you need to. (That didn't work so well in the gravel and rock the night I spent on top of Caltech Peak.) I know where the Svea is, but I haven't used it in the current century. We have, as you describe, so many better choices now.

Dale B. Dalrymple

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#20582 - 01/06/12 01:35 PM Re: Cold Weather Tips for Gas Stoves [Re: hikin_jim]
catpappy Offline


Registered: 03/06/10
Posts: 120
Loc: acworth, ga
Jim, I have two Optimus 99. One bought in 77 the other bought in 79 as a backup when I did the AT. Was using one or the other until a few years ago when I got the WindPro. That sputtering roar is so nostalgic for me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPMCUDUfueo

John

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